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A Comprehensive PR Writing Guide with Press Release Examples

Press releases are pretty straightforward. They only deal with facts and you don’t have to worry about convincing people to buy a product that they’re not really interested in.

So, writing a PR shouldn’t be any trouble at all, right? Wrong.

pr writing guide

Here you go!

Why You Need To Follow Press Release Examples

A lot of writers that happen to be brilliant creative writers can still struggle with Press Releases. One of the main problems that some writers come across when writing press releases is trying to keep everything concise. A lot of writers might be used to padding out their work and looking for extra little tidbits that will help them reach their target word count. The press release is a completely different beast though. Sometimes the best idea is for a writer to look at a press release example to get a feel of how a good PR should look and feel.

The Search Is On

Now, you would think that looking for press release examples would be fairly easy. Uncle Google provides plenty of answers to more complex questions every day. But then when you type those three small words in to the little box and hit enter — you get more than you bargained for.

Which Example Is Best?

There are small press releases and large press releases. There are press releases by industry and press releases by date. With all these examples, how do you know which one will suit your specific needs?

In order to figure this out, you’ll need to know what your needs are. How much do you really know about writing a press release? What kind of questions do you need to have answered before you can write the perfect PR? Let’s start from the beginning.

What Do You Need to Consider?

Press releases are solely for newsworthy events. This is an extremely strict rule (although one that many people break regularly); but that doesn’t mean that PRs can’t cover a whole host of subjects. They could be about anything from a merger between companies to a business offering a discount for some reason.

1. What’s it about? Make a note of the news that you need to write about in the press release. If a company is opening its doors for the first time in a while, look for similar PRs by typing in search terms that might be used for your company.

2. How should it read? The examples that are thrown out from this search will more than likely give you an idea on the style and tone of a press release (hint: it’s not conversational like a blog, PRs are serious stuff!) as well as how the press release should be presented. Generally speaking, a PR should be made up of around 4 paragraphs that give details of a company’s news to interested parties.

3. What should it include? You’ll notice that PRs won’t use any more words than necessary to tell the facts of the story. This is for two reasons. One: the structure of a press release is designed to give all the major details at the very start of the article to make sure the reader gets all the important information even if they don’t finish reading the full piece. And two: to make sure the important information isn’t cut off if the editor decides to shorten the article.

Templates

Because the basics of press release writing follow the same rules, the structure of PRs can be quite uniform. So it stands to reason that as well as studying a live version of a press release example for content ideas, many writers like to use templates to write their news releases as well.

There are a number of good programs that utilize press release templates:

  • Word – As part of the Microsoft Office suite, Word is a popular choice for many writers. Typing “press release” in the search box for online templates will give several options for PR templates that the user can fill their own details in for a quick and professional look.
  • Microsoft Publisher – Writers can follow step by step instructions from one of the thousands of ‘How To’ articles online and make their own template using a program like Microsoft Publisher. They can then save the template and use it every time they need to write a press release. Due to the uniformity of PRs, writers should be able to use the same template each time with minimal amount of tweaks.
  • PRWeb: PRWeb is one of the top leading sites to distribute press releases online. It has the highest amount of traffic and the most-shared news stories in terms of press releases. Here’s an example of a press release we wrote for PRWeb (note the correct title, subtitle & formatting overall):

prweb

Anyone Can Write a Press Release

This is absolutely true. Anyone can have a go at writing press releases — in the same way that anyone could have a go at driving a car or walking a tight rope; not everyone can be successful at it.

Anyone trying to write a press release and knows how to follow good press release examples needs to remember some fundamental points about how it should look, how it should read and what it needs to contain. Looking at one press release example can help with this. But looking at a number of examples that show both ends of the spectrum will give an even better idea.

Things to Remember

Press releases don’t have to be the most complicated thing in the world. Remember to:

  • Use a bold headline to grab attention
  • List the news first and tell people everything they need to know in detail
  • Look at other PRs for a similar event within the same industry. Make notes on what does and doesn’t work
  • Answer the main questions that everyone needs to know “who, where, what, why, when and how?”
  • DO NOT sell anything to anyone. A press release is always objective and only offers the facts

 

If you can remember these points and learn from other press release examples then you might well be able to write a useful, informative press release that gets noticed.

Modern Press Releases

In today’s world, the way the press release is actually released is slightly different — actually a lot different. People can skip the pitch part of the process and go right to publication. For example:

1. The client requests a PR

2. The writer writes the PR

3. Client sends the PR to an online press release distributer

4. The PR will be sent to journalists and bloggers relevant to the particular industry of the press release, but it will also become live on the Internet exactly as it’s been written.

What Does This Mean?

Press releases must be written exceptionally well so that they could actually be an editorial story. In the past, the only people who saw press releases in their raw form were the journalists and the editors who were being asked to run the story. Now, online press releases mean everybody gets a shot at being seen. While this might sound nice, the harsh reality is that people might have stood a better chance of their PR being read with the old way. As harsh as the journalists might be on a PR, at least the ones that made it would have gone to press in the best light possible. Now, it’s up to companies and their marketing team to come up with a PR that wows the public all on their own. That might sound like a fairly easy task to a writer who hasn’t had much experience with writing press releases, especially with some good press release examples to follow, but the fact of the matter is that press releases are written in a very particular way.

Press Releases in a Nutshell

When it comes to writing effective press releases that people want to read, there are a few things to remember:

  • Use an attention-grabbing headline that tells the reader exactly what to expect in the PR itself. It’s best to be direct here and get right to the point. Press releases aren’t about leaving people guessing.
  • Lead with the news. The most important factors should be right at the top of the PR. Taking three paragraphs to let people know the purpose of the press release just won’t cut it. In fact, if a writer waits three paragraphs to explain the news in a PR it’s unlikely that they’ll even have a reader by that point.
  • Keep everything factual. It’s not a personal account or a fictional story. You’re reporting a news event for a business or company. The PR should answer the “who, what, where, when, why and how?” questions. Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to get an idea of the structure of the piece. Once the basic structure is down with the answers to the 5 “W” questions, it’s a matter of putting the story together in a logical order.
  • Check and re-check your work. Any PRs that show potential for being legitimate news stories still have the opportunity to be picked up by journalists, editors and bloggers of various publications. However, if the PR is full of errors, poorly-written and generally tosh, then nobody will want to touch it with a barge pole. Not the public, not the media, not even your own grandmother who’s always been your biggest fan.
  • Write for your audience. You might not be selling anything, but you still want people to read your work. You need to think about the information that the reader will want. Part of this will come from the 5 “W” questions, but it will also come from the details that you use to answer the questions.

If you get stuck at all, there are plenty of press release examples online that will show you what you should be aiming for. Just make sure you pick a good example though, because there are plenty of horrendous press release examples that are enough to make your toes curl.

Some of the Worst Press Release Examples Ever

To understand the worth of something, sometimes you have to see the worst example ever to truly understand.

 

Examples of Bad Press Releases

You know when you’re in class, everyone’s reading from the same book and there’s always that one kid that’s on a different page than everyone else? That kid gets every project slightly off skew because they’re always using the wrong information. In school, this can lead to bad marks. In a press release, it can lead to a writer being black listed in the media.

If you’re wondering what bad press releases look like, then here are a few real life examples of press releases where the author has clearly been reading from the wrong page of the ‘how to write a good press release’ book.

Content Marketing Today revealed the incredibly gripping PR about the ‘ACME PRIVATE BANK MOVES TO SEVENTH FLOOR’ that is a real headline for a real press release. Wow. Just wow. The most obvious question here is, “who cares?” Under no circumstances is this considered news to anybody on the planet, which is why this PR can be classed as a fail.

Another site revealed gems such as:

  • “A Truly Innovative Way to Lose Weight” Breaks the fundamental rule of not pitching a sale to the reader. The last paragraph could have been taken straight from a landing page. Bad, bad, bad.
  • “Supreme Key used for Grease Removal and Cleaning Services” This one will need to be seen to be believed. The main problem here seems to be the fact that although the words are indeed English, the way they’re put together doesn’t form one single English sentence throughout the whole PR.

For new PR writers, it’s a good idea to look at both good and bad press release examples to gain a better idea of how to do it, and exactly what to stay clear of!

Overall, the humble press release has been used to grab people’s attention and bring companies into the spotlight through factual, newsworthy stories. Journalists and editors all over the world have become accustomed to receiving hundreds of press releases each week, reading through them and picking out those that will appeal to their readers. Press release examples that tick the boxes will be published, and hopefully the company will benefit from the exposure. At least that’s how it used to be.

avoid these things

10 Press Release Mistakes To Avoid

There is no shortage of “how to” press release articles available on the Internet today. With all the instructions for what to do, sometimes it can get confusing. Sometimes you may have all the correct elements but need to know what not to do in a press release. The ability to edit your own work is critical when you’re on a time crunch and when you’re aware of the “don’ts” you can have more confidence in what you have written and how you present it.  By going through a quick list of dos and don’ts after writing a press release, you can help ensure your work has the opportunity to go viral and reach millions.

Elements to Avoid in a Press Release

While there is no complete list with every no-no in the world of press release examples, there are some easy elements to avoid and to cross off of your list. One of the best ways to write an article is to just start writing, and after you’ve said everything necessary, go back and edit. This can mean cutting down the words, rearranging the paragraphs, and going through this quick list of things to avoid.

The hype

Yes, you are writing about something news worthy but no, you don’t need ten exclamation points. The hype should be in the content itself, not in the excessive punctuation or filler words. Don’t overuse words like: free, limited time offer, act now, awesome, and repetitive words such as very, very, very. The spam filters will catch these quickly and the readers will associate your piece with a used car sales person approach and probably be turned off.

Ignoring junior high English class

You took the class; why not practice what you learned? Marketwire lists grammar as #1 of its 7 most common PR pitfalls. Your teachers didn’t drill punctuation, syntax, and spelling into your head for no reason; they wanted you to be a successful writer, so make them proud! Check your grammar and spelling at least three times. It can be helpful to have a colleague read over the piece too to check for grammatical problems. Be sure to do the same for them when asked.

Mindless content

Answer the questions of the reader. Think back to a press release of the past and answer the five questions of: who, what, when, where, and why. Your reader should know exactly what they read but also want to learn more by your direction to a website or person of interest.

Talking directly to the reader

Write in the third person. Use descriptive titles such as: the real estate agent, the welder, the singer, instead of you, or your agent. The audience may pick up the “you” pronouns as advertising, and that is not the case.

Infomercials

A press release is sharing information but should be written in a professional manner. Read your piece out loud and if it would fit in right after the commercial for “Magic Putty,” you may want to rewrite it. Press releases are promotional but not gimmicky.

This list may seem simple enough, yet it is violated on a regular basis.  Browsing the internet you will see pieces written with titles that are ALL CAPS or followed by unnecessary punctuation!!!!!! While these may be legitimate press releases, be wary while reading them and understand the source.

While learning what NOT to do, it is important to also know what TO do so your press release is successful. In the spirit of balance, here are five tips on positive ways to construct a PR:

Check your title

Does it draw in the reader? Does it make you want to read it? Or could you skim the title and live without reading the rest? You want a reader to be so attracted to the piece that they have to see what the rest of it says; even if they searched that term specifically, they should want to keep reading.

Make it reader friendly

Use small paragraphs so it can be skimmed. Headers, bullets, numbering, separation of large sections are ways to keep it simple and readable.

Stay relevant within the topic

Too many “bunny trails” within the content will cause the reader to turn away from the article with no real grasp on what they just read. It is common in a news release to try to convey too much information and writers often stuff the article full of keywords, information, links, dates, names, and other tidbits that are important but put the reader on overload.

Make sure your links work

Double check any links you may have used in the press release to ensure they work. There are few things more annoying than reading an interesting article and when you click to learn more, the link is broken. Your piece will instantly lose credibility. Your reader will want to double check the date it was written and even who wrote it to see if they are still an expert in the material.

Not Identifying yourself

Your reader should be able to see your credentials and understand why you are writing about this topic. Even if you are not considered an expert in the field, you should still be sure to alert the audience as to your ability to write and gather information on the topic. This is usually accomplished through writing a short bio to go with your name on the press release sites.

Strong writing is the cornerstone of all Internet content but there are some mistakes even the best writers make while constructing a PR. Consider reading other press release examples that have gone from a small publication to the big time presses. What did they have in their piece that you don’t? What is it about their piece that draws in the readers? Add those same elements to your press release and you will have a solid article to begin circulating. With some practice and editing, you can become a master at the press release.

how to write a press release format

How to Write a Press Release Format

If you’re marketing a new project, promoting a product, or driving awareness to an upcoming event, learning how to write a press release format is critical. A press release is a treasured tool that, when created correctly, can have a massive impact on the success of your upcoming merger, project, or launch. Unfortunately, however, many writers don’t know how to craft a great press release!

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. While press releases are essential marketing tools, they can be difficult to write. Learning the ins and outs of creating great ones can help you differentiate yourself from the competition and make all your marketing efforts more successful – across the board.

Here’s what you need to know.

how to write a press release format

What’s the Purpose of a Press Release?

Press releases are educational documents that, when done correctly, answer the five W’s: who, what, where, when, why? Designed to inform the press and the public about changes to your company, new and noteworthy products, goods, and services, or major mergers and acquisitions, a press release is a concise, informative piece of media.

Unlike sales copy, press releases don’t try to sell something or approach anything from any angle. Instead, they only lay out the facts, use some quotes from influencers, and move on.

How to Write a Press Release Format: A Step-by-Step Approach

When it comes down to learning how to write a press release format, ALWAYS remember that a press release should be brief, go straight to the heart of the matter, and should contain only the necessary information.

Bear in mind that a press release is meant to intrigue journalists and editors first, and your audience second. The media professionals who will read your press release are not looking for fancy formatting, industry jargon, or shiny graphics. They want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Here’s how to deliver it:

How to Write a Press Release Format: Working from the Top of the Page to the Bottom!

If you’ve never written a press release before, tackling the form can feel intimidating. Here’s a simple, step-by-step breakdown to help you:

At The Top Of The Document

The top of the press release is what people see first. As such, it’s one of the most critical portions of the PR. To make it instantly recognizable, include your brand’s logo and a headline that tells people what the press release is about and what they can expect to learn from it. For best results, your headline should contain target keywords.

  • Headline. The best headlines are brief and to-the-point. The headline should not exceed 65 characters or else you risk losing reader attention and having the headline truncated by Google. Ensure you capitalize each word in the headline – making exceptions for words that have fewer than three characters or prepositions. While a press release is a more informative document than many you might be used to writing, the headline is no less important. This means attractive, attention-grabbing headlines rule, just like everywhere else.
  • Sub-Headline/Summary. Your sub-header or summary should be a maximum of two sentences, and should provide a bit more detail about the “meat” of the press release. Again, keep it brief and intriguing.
  • Contact information. Some press release writers input their contact information directly beneath their company’s logo, in line with the left margin of the document. Others place it after the body copy. This is up to you, just so long as the contact information is highly visible!
  • Release Date. Release date helps people interpret the relevance of your press release. More recent = more relevant. With this in mind, include the release date at the top of your press release, just below the logo, aligned with the right margin of the release.
  • Dateline. The dateline tells readers where and when your press release was published. It goes right before the body text and follows this format: CITY, STATE, Month, Day.

The Body of the Press Release

The body of the press release is the place where you can go into more detail about your chosen topic. For best results, you’ll need to use a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 600 words. While it’s tempting to dive too deep and tell readers everything there is to know about your event, merger, or product, remind yourself that press releases lay out all the needed information, and nothing else. With this in mind, follow these tips for great body copy:

  • Keep Paragraphs Short. For best results, the paragraphs of your body text should be between 2-4 sentences. No longer.
  • Include Relevant Back-Up Information. If they’re available to you, use statistics, hyperlinks, quotes from professionals, and media content (like videos and images) in your body copy. This will enhance the reader’s experience and make your press release more valuable.
  • Separate Block Quotes. If you do use block quotes, separate them to highlight them and draw them out from the rest of the text. To add depth to the press release, pull in quotes that offer a perspective that’s different from the writer’s.

The Boilerplate Information

Boilerplate information lives at the end of your press release and presents information about your brand or company.

Designed to be used in various press releases, and picked up by journalists to provide additional context about your business, boilerplate information should provide some details about who your brand is, what you do, when the company was founded, and where people can find you. Include relevant social media links to connect people with your business across the web.

End Notation

At the end of your press release, signal to readers that you’re all done with the following symbol, centered in the middle of the page: ###.

After that, you can input a final sentence inviting people to reach out to you or your company head with a name, phone number, and email address.

Common Press Release Mistakes to Avoid

No lesson on how to write a press release format is complete without pointing out the common mistakes to avoid. Some press releases are so full of errors it’s painful to look at them. Believe it or not, but bad press releases will do a lot more harm than good. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Using all Capital Letters. Some writers use all caps to emphasize or draw attention to phrases or keywords, but this is poor form. Instead, use standard sentence case throughout.
  2. Syndicating the Press Release. While syndication used to be a popular press release distribution method, it’s died out in the last several years. Today, you’ll have better results sending your press release to local news agencies.
  3. Including An Email Address Within The Body Of The Press Release. If you include an email address in the body of the press release, you’ll put yourself and your company at risk for receiving spam mail rather than relevant inquiries.
  4. Not Spellchecking. After writing your press release, you need to do the following: proofread, re-read, and re-read once more. Submitting a poorly-written or poorly edited press release is a big no-no, and can be a disaster for your brand.
  5. Being Too Brief. While a good press release should be short and straight to the point, being too brief can lead to an unsatisfying experience for readers. Be sure you answer all relevant questions and provide needed details before moving on.
  6. Running Too Long. You should be able to make your point in 300 – 600 words. Longer than this and you risk losing reader attention.
  7. Using Your Press Release to Advertise. Though press releases are great promotional tools, they are not ads. Press releases inform objectively while ads sell.
  8. Using Hype Flags. You may not even know that you are using hype flags in your press release. Hype flags are too-good-to-be-true product and service claims that turn readers off and harm the authority of your press release.

The Outstanding Press Release: Every Brand’s Secret Weapon

The better you get at writing press releases, the more efficiently you’ll be able to help your brand stand out and gain media attention down the road. While a press release can feel intimidating, learning the structure and format of a great press release is just one more thing that will allow you to further your brand and boost your relevance.

Looking for a team of skilled professionals to help you write our press release? Look no further than the professional press release writers here at Express Writers!

Press Release Examples: The Last One You Will Ever Need

Press release examples should be coherent and should tell you exactly what you need to write and where to put it. The press release examples presented here will show you just that.

press release

Press Release Examples: Let’s Begin With Yours

In writing press releases, it is important to keep the language simple and straightforward. Remember that you are writing something that will make a new product or discovery official, and it is something that will be published.

For this reason, the press release should contain all of the information necessary for readers to know what you are releasing.

Never forget the 6 elements that should be present – who, what, when, where, how, and why. Ideally, you should put these in the first paragraph of your press release because you have to assume that readers will not read beyond the first paragraph. Also, it is important to format your press release correctly so that you will not run into problems when publishing. A press release should be ready for publishing, so avoiding grammatical and punctuation errors is a must. Here is the press release example that will guide you.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[Put this at the very top of your press release, as in written press release examples, if you want your piece published immediately. It should be flushed to the left, in all capital letters. If you want to wait for a little time before it is published, you can write HOLD RELEASE UNTIL… and then specify a date. This is important, especially if you are launching a product that is not yet available on the market.]

Headline

[Your headline should be catchy and should contain your main keywords, especially if your press release is to be published online. This will help search engines like Google increase your ranking. Your headline should be in bold, but not all caps. Capitalize the first letter of every word, except for prepositions and words shorter than 4 letters.]

Sub-heading

[Again, this should be in bold letters and formatted like the heading. Here, you will guide readers into the press release, following the right press release examples formatting. It varies, because some press release examples do not call for sub-headings at all. Remember to make your sub-headings interesting as well and supportive of your heading.]

City, State/Country- Month, Day, Year– First paragraph

[This part should be in italics and will orient the readers about your time and location. This will also show them that your press release is current and something they should pay attention to. Immediately after the location and date, put a dash and go into your first paragraph. The first paragraph should contain all pertinent information and all 6 elements mentioned above. Again, the style of writing should sound official and be straight to the point.]

Body

[The body of your text should contain all of the supportive data you wrote in the first paragraph. Take note that every paragraph should be no longer than 4 or 5 sentences. Separate paragraphs with a space. The writing should flow like a standard essay, with the first paragraph being like an introduction, and then there’s a body, and finally a conclusion. Make it as short as possible. Keep it to 1 or 2 pages, or else readers will not take the time to read your entire press release. Also, it’s very good practice to include a quote from a credible source in the body. This will make your press release more objective and will tell the readers that experts support your press release.]

Last Paragraph

[The last paragraph should summarize all key points and should be kept short. If you are selling a certain product, include a call to action for readers to buy the product and visit your website. Do not sound like an ad, however, because that will make your press release less credible.]

About

[Company] [This is the section where you will write about the merits of your company. Highlight any achievements that your company has. However, take care not to sound like an advertisement. You can put here the company’s certification, a little bit of background, and some information about your future products.]

Media Inquiries/Contact Information

[Place here the ways in which readers can contact you. You may put your email address, your company’s address, and your company’s website that is linking to the product you are announcing. You can also put your company’s Twitter and Facebook account, if applicable. Don’t put too much personal information, especially if you don’t want the media to constantly call you.

###

[Place the close symbol to alert journalists that your press release has ended. If you want to provide additional contact information that you don’t want to be published, you can place these after the close sign. You can state when you are available for questions and the fastest way to reach you.]